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Serves 4

This dish has an interesting mix of dried and fresh herbs and is pretty enough to fall into the category of "company food." The herbes de Provence mix usually includes a variety such as thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, lavender, tarragon, marjoram, basil, fennel seed, and orange zest. Sprinkle the dried herbs over cherry tomatoes and potatoes and bake until the potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, cook green beans and sear tuna on top of the stove. Finally, assemble the dish and return it to the oven to finish cooking.

Oil (for the baking dish)
4 (6 ounces each) center-cut tuna steaks
Salt and pepper, to taste
pounds small Yukon gold or red potatoes, halved
1 pint small cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
5 tablespoons olive oil
cup pitted black Kalamata olives
5 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (about 2 sprigs)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (about 2 sprigs)
½ pound green beans, trimmed

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Lightly oil a large (9-by-13-inch) baking dish. Sprinkle the tuna steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.

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2. In the baking dish, arrange the potatoes in one layer. Distribute half the cherry tomatoes over them. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbes de Provence, and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

3. In a bowl, toss the remaining tomatoes with the olives, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the oil.

4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, cook for 4 minutes, or until tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

5. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sear the tuna steaks on one side without disturbing them for 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned. Turn them over, and sear for another minute.

6. Arrange the fish over the potatoes in the baking dish with the more deeply browned side up. Distribute the tomato and olive mixture on top. Return the dish to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked but still a little pink inside. The actual cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the steaks.

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7. Serve the tuna on warm plates on top of the potatoes, olives, and tomatoes. Divide the beans among the 4 plates, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, and serve. Sally Pasley Vargas


Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.